Riau to extend school closure over haze frenzy


The Pekanbaru Education Agency in Riau is planning to extend the temporary closure of some schools in the provincial capital to reduce negative health impacts triggered by the haze that has blanketed the city over the past several days.

On Saturday, the agency decided to shut preschools and kindergartens in a number of districts over fear that the haze, which comes from land and forest fires in regions surrounding the city, would make the children prone to respiratory illness. The agency also asked first to third graders in the districts to take a day off school on Saturday.

"It [the closure] will depend on the air condition on Sunday and Monday morning. If it is still not possible [for students to attend school], a follow-up circular [regarding school holidays] will be immediately sent to school headmasters," agency head Zulpadil said over the weekend.

Although the agency does not specifically impose the policy on students from the fourth to 12th grades, Zulpadil said that school headmasters had been given the authority to shutdown their schools should they experience worsening haze conditions in their respective areas.